I’m in love with a new toy. A shiny red bench top pizza oven that makes perfectly crisp, lightly charred pizza in under 10 minutes. Strictly speaking it’s not my toy but my husband’s latest birthday present. Carefully selected to match last Christmas’ Secret Santa present; a red metal SodaStream, which I will hasten to add must be one of the most successfully selected and frequently used gifts of all time. I just love a gift that keeps on giving, and in this instance also brings the whole family together to the table. Here is my latest object of desire, in it’s burnished glory.
Last Sunday we enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch, alfresco in the sunshine as the birthday boy treated us to steady stream of perfectly baked pizzas. Aussie blokes have always been proprietorial about their barbecue and I’ll happily wager that it won’t be long before this pizza oven is elevated to those hallowed ranks, entering the realm of not so secret men’s business, and perhaps a little difficult for a mere mortal (like me) to access and use.
All jokes aside, I decorously waited until mid week to get my itchy little hands on this little beauty, and have a go at making a pizza myself. Suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I was delighted. I teamed my deliciously crispy sugo smothered pizza with fresh salty prosciutto, peppery rocket and creamy baby bocconcini. In a word? Divine. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
Benchtop Pizza Oven Pizza With Prosciutto, Rocket and Cherry Bocconcini
Makes one 30cm pizza
1 ball pizza dough, homemade (recipe follows) or store bought, or use pita, Lebanese bread or even wraps as bases
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 generous tablespoons tomato sugo, homemade (recipe follows) or store bought
6 slices prosciutto
6 balls fresh cherry bocconcini cheese, sliced in half
a couple of handfuls wild baby rocket
PREHEAT stone pizza oven to 300C, about 3 to 5 minutes.
MEANWHILE roll or stretch the pizza dough into a 28cm circle. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.
SPREAD the tomato sugo over the base and scatter over half the sliced bocconcini balls, making sure they are nice and evenly spread over the base.
SLIDE pizza paddles under the base, lift the lid of the oven and carefully slide the pizza onto the hot stone.
CLOSE the lid, adjust the heat setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions and bake the pizza until edges are lightly browned and cheese is bubbly and browned in spots, about 5 – 7 minutes depending on the thickness of the base.
SLIDE metal paddles under the pizza to remove from the oven.
SCATTER rocket evenly over the base, drape with thinly sliced prosciutto and stud with the remainder of the sliced bocconcini cheese. Slice and serve.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes 8 medium or 6 large pizza bases
If this recipe looks familiar I’ve posted it before here but thought I would include it again for easy reference. You will need to start making the dough at least 2 hours before you need it. You can make it the day before or even earlier if you like. Uncooked balls of dough can be frozen. I like to make a large batch using a whole packet of flour, and freeze what I don’t need for another time.
1kg Tipo ‘00’ flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
4 ½ teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650ml lukewarm water
½ cup finely ground semolina flour, for kneading
COMBINE flour and salt in a large mixing bowl
IN A SEPARATE bowl combine the yeast, sugar, olive oil and lukewarm water. Leave to stand for a few minutes to activate the yeast. When the yeast is activated the mixture will begin to froth. A useful rule of thumb for tepid water is one part freshly boiled water to two parts cold, i.e. use 220 ml boiling water to 430ml cold.
ADD wet ingredients to dry and mix to a soft dough.
DUST a work bench with semolina flour. Turn the dough out onto the bench and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy. Use the heel of your hand to push and stretch the dough. Lift and fold it towards you, making a quarter turn. Continue kneading, turning the dough a quarter turn each time, for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. For good measure I like to intermittently throw the dough against the bench top as I am kneading it to further develop the gluten.
PLACE the ball of dough into a clean oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave it in a warm place to rest and relax for about an hour or until it has nearly doubled in size.
WHEN the dough has risen, punch the dough with your hands to knock the air out of the dough. Lightly knead for a minute or two on a bench top that has been freshly dusted with semolina flour.
DIVIDE the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make six large or eight medium pizzas. Give each ball of dough a quick knead and let them rest for about 15 minutes. These are your pizza bases, ready to be cooked or frozen in zip lock bags for future use.
Home Made Tomato Sugo
Recipe originally posted here
Makes enough to top 4-6 pizzas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1 400 gm can of crushed tomatoes
sea salt and pepper
HEAT the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes until onion is translucent.
ADD tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until tomato mixture is reduced by half.
STORE in refrigerator in an air tight container until ready to use. Suitable to freeze.